“who am i”

“who am i or what am i”

who am i, or what am i… questions that i simply asked all my life and yet i’m still not really sure of the answer….yes i know what my medical condition is according to the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-V; Gender Dysphoria… Gender Dysphoria, is simply “a feeling or a state of being at unease as a result when a person’s sexual anatomy doesn’t match up with his or her inner sense of gender”…. okay what does this all really mean?
maybe you can just say i’m transgender…

most of my life, and i know this would date back definitely to my preteens, i simply wanted to be a girl….. this was the feeling i carried all through my life…. i really don’t think i ever verbalized my feelings that i was a girl simply in the body of a boy…. and it pains me today to understand or figure out why i didn’t rationalized my feelings like this, all i simply felt was i was unhappy being a boy and i wanted to be a girl….. i wonder, if i had known that i was transgender, how would of that affected my life and especially the pain i suffered…

i was born in 1949 and grew up in the 50’s so i guess i knew that these feelings weren’t natural so i never verbally expressed them, but i felt them constantly…. i wish i knew how old i was when my dysphoria became apparent to me… i rack my brain trying to remember a childhood that occurred so long ago… today i don’t even have my mother to talk to, to ask if i ever had behavior that didn’t fit the typical male role…. i was their first born son, a son they dearly wanted, because of that would they just ignore any atypical behavior… the scientific literature or Doctor Spock, the manual that every mother referred to, never talked about sexual or especially gender identity back in the 50’s…. if i had been born maybe 10 or 15 years later would the language even have been out there…. but does any of this really matter because i simply spent my whole life wanting something that i knew i never could have… i guess i learned early the disappointments that life can throw your way… yet every day, and especially after i reached puberty, i learned that every time i saw the reflection of a girl or anything that related to a girl my heart would cry, “i wish i was born a girl”………i really wonder if any “normal” person can really relate to the magnitude of this statement… that when it came down to my physical self, “every waking moment, every conscious breath came down to a denial of who i truly was”….

how does a child build a positive sense of self-esteem under these conditions… i never had any self esteem… i always felt inferior in just about every thing that i did… many times i had to prove myself and many times that ended with just more disappointment… i was never very athletic as a child and never excelled in any sport or academics… i will always remember how i was the oldest kid in our local minor league of little league and lived with my father’s video of me striking out and walking to the dugout with my head hung low in disappointment… and this drama was played all throughout my life….

i wore a lot of costumes throughout my life…. each one was an attempt to find the “me” that i could feel good about… i was always more worried over what someone would think of the reflection that i painted than how i felt in that reflection….. always comparing myself to somebody else’s standards, to what i thought would bring acceptance or was it love… no, i really don’t think love was the issue then, it was simply feeling good about myself…. all my life i would secretly look at other males, painfully seeing how i was inferior to their reflection…. my arms were never big enough, i had peach fuzz instead of a manly beard, and the list goes on and on…

i spent my whole life trying to ease my dysphoria, make the pain just a little less so that life would be tolerable…. i could never be a girl… little boys can’t be little girls… who wrote that stupid law, it just didn’t make any sense to me…. but what would it feel like to be a girl… i had to rely on my imagination all my life and fantasize that life i wanted… did it help or just cause my heart to be broken more, i’ll never know…. i really don’t know how old i was when i secretly, and behind a locked door put on a piece of my mother’s clothing…. it felt right, it felt so good, and at that moment i guess i began a lifetime of secretly cross-dressing… that was a strategy i used for over 55 years and also during 44 years of my marriage…. a strategy just to ease my pain and to live in my dream world of being a girl… during my adult years i wonder did this ease my dysphoria or just cause me more pain… but always it was behind locked doors and fearing someone would enter that room…… i would sit in my mother’s little chair at her vanity all throughout my life, even as an adult when i would visit her…. and looking into the mirror that she saw her beautiful reflection all i saw every time i looked in that mirror was the truth, “you can never and will never be or look like a beautiful girl”… disappointment, pain, tears, yea even suicidal thoughts was all i ever saw in that mirror… and all throughout my life, looking at his image in all of the mirrors always brought a sense of confusion, of regret, of pain…. how many times did i stand in the shower and hide my genitals so that i would see the image of a girl rather than a man… how many times did i grabbed that mistake and wish i could just cut it off….

but it’s today and today i am almost 3 years from that day that i “came out”….. for 33 months now i have been on HRT and i swear i will go to my grave still being on my HRT…. and only about 6 months ago i had a surgery i waited a lifetime for… every night, during my life, i prayed for that day and yes it did finally come…. i will always believe the morning of my sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) will be the happiest minutes of my life…. i love the photo that i took of myself that morning, my smile said it all….. i knew that in just hours, that yes i would really be a girl…. wheeling me into surgery that morning i i could of died and i would have had no regrets because my greatest wish was really happening….. no this would not be just another one of my broken dreams it was really happening…

so “who am i” and “where am i today”
here are the facts:
i am now legally considered a female
my birth certificate and every other document concerning me states that i am female
BUT…
my 23rd chromosome still reads XY
i am not nor ever will be a cis-gender female
my body had testosterone as its main hormone for 66 years, that’s 66 years of developing as a male and surgery can only do so much to soften that fact
i still have “his” voice
i will probably ALWAYS be mis-gendered in one way or another
I HATE THE FACT THAT I AM TRANSGENDER.. being transgender has raped me of my childhood and the memories i would of had and never allowed jules to live his life without tears
BUT
I AM TRANSGENDER
I AM A TRANS-FEMALE
all summer long i stood in front of thousands, on a cruise ship in Alaska, weaving tales of Alaska’s beauty… and even though i presented myself so beautifully as a woman as soon as i opened my mouth and started talking, questions were being thought… “was she once a male”, or “that’s really a man”

but those thoughts never were really a major concern to those people, for from that first day they began falling in love with their naturalist, tess julianna….. tess was knitting her way into their hearts and nothing else really mattered… how many times did i hear my beautiful name, always with praise and love, and in those moments it really didn’t matter “what i was” but i knew all summer long that my secret really wasn’t a secret….. and to help maybe some of these people to understand i did something i thought i never would once i began my journey…. after reading my poetry, in my last Alaskan Naturalist presentation, i publicly “came out” to everyone sitting in that audience… i said the words i never thought i would say in public, for everyone to hear “I AM TRANSGENDER”…..finally i told them that at 2PM that afternoon i would give a private talk “on being transgender”… to help them understand i would read from my journal and poetry and answer any questions they would have…. and in return i got the most beautiful hugs and words of love and praise just for being who and what i was….

and all summer long, every evening at 6PM, i went to Princess’s LGBT meeting…. i went for two reasons, one to socialize with “my new family” the family i now belonged within….. but i think the main reason i attended was to learn about “their journeys”…. were their journeys the same as mine, did we share the same feelings in life, how much difference is there between having a mis-orientation with your sexual identity than with your gender identity… and also are my feelings and emotions today the same as any other lesbian….

and after all was said and done, and i walked off the Grand Princess for the final time this summer i believe i now really understand and know who and what i am…. yes i am transgender….. and as much as i would love to go through my life in stealth, i know it just won’t happen, especially publicly interacting with the number of people that i do…. so maybe my role or purpose in life now is simply to be a “trans-girl” living the life she always wanted in the eyes of the public…. yes there will be people i meet everyday that will always look at me with disgust but they are in the minority…. my summer on the Grand Princess is proof of that…. no, maybe to all the other people that tess julianna walks into their life, be it for a moment or longer, they may or will know her secret and they will never understand the “why’s” but at that moment they will have been converted and yet another disciples will go spread the word “hey transgenders are beautiful people too, remember tess and how we loved her”

and probably the most important fact is that everyday for the rest of my life i will wake up as the woman i always dreamed of being
tess julianna 9/29/2018

4 thoughts on ““who am i””

  1. We met you on an Alaskan cruise with Princess. You were one of the truly enjoyable experiences we had. We went to one of your nature lectures and were captivated by your intelligence, humor and passion for the subject. Yes, we were pretty sure that you were transgender, but it was your personality and warmth you just have about you that we were interested in. After our cruise I searched and found your blog and have followed since. I enjoy your writings even when the are heart wrenching. I see you as Tess, a beautiful woman inside and out.

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  2. Hi Tess, my husband John and I met you in July/August on the Grand Princess. We didn’t miss any of your lectures, and whether you were transgender or not never came up in any of our conversations. We found you so interesting, and just felt drawn to you, couldn’t wait for the next lecture. After your final lecture , we joined you in that Italian restaurant bar and you so bravely shared your journey with a handful of us. A few hours later, we were so thrilled to bump into you in the Horizons Court and share dinner together. Tess, you captivated both of us, and you remained in my thoughts long after the cruise. It sounds like you’ve left the Grand Princess, so please keep us posted on your next assignment. How we would love to sail with you again!

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